Tents, Tepees & Yurts Oh My!
There's more than one way to pitch at tent on The Playa. Depending on your style, budget, and personal needs there are a lot of ways to make a shelter to sleep in at Burning Man. I really enjoy not staying in an RV. The tent camping makes me feel like a kid again. Some camps and innovators take the idea to the extreme making amazing out of this world shelters.
There's a lot of self expression and customization that goes into a good shelter, that is so much fun to do. Here are some tips to help you in the process of deciding what kind of shelter to choose.
No matter what type of structure you are building there are some important added factors to consider. Wind, Sun, Dust & Safety
Stake against the wind
It's not uncommon to see someone's tent flying out of a camp and down the street. The wind will blow your tent away, if you are not careful. Here are some tips to keeping your tent grounded. Using good ropes, rebar and tent placement are key factors for tent flight. You're Regular Tent Stakes Won't Work!
Use RVs, Cars and other Camp structures to make walls around your tent to protect against the wind.
Forget Rebar! Lag Screws Are The Future!
Tent Safety Tips
It really sucks when you are walking at night in lost and disoriented between camps, and you hit your foot or worse on some rebar. I've seen more than once someone getting impaled on a piece of rebar holding up a structure. Blood is not MOOP you wanna clean up ever. So to make sure that doesn't happen, follow these Tent Safety Tips, or check out more Rebar Safety Tips
- Place a tennis ball or pool noodle on the ends of your rebar and tape them off so no one gets hurt.
- Use glow in the dark gaffer or Solar LED lights along your tent lines so you don't trip over them at night.
- Place tarps down before you pitch your tent, just in case it rains. Yes it rains sometimes at Burning Man, and the mud is killer slip and slide.
Shade against the sun
When the sun comes up, it's a natural early morning wakeup call. It gets REALLY HOT. On the contrary at night it can get REALLY COLD. A good sleeping bag, blanket or warm cuddly body can help against the cold. Only a good shade structure can help against the heat of the day. There are as many shade structure designs as there are tent designs, but here are a few good links to help you figure it out.
Protect from the dust
Before getting a tent, make sure it can close off completely to the outside. Lots of these large family tents that you may buy at walmart have huge screen windows that the dust just covers everything inside. Do you like sleeping on a dusty ground? Well that's what your bed will feel like in one of these tents. Make sure you can close off all the vents, and use a cover sheet during the day to protect your bed against any residual dust. A small dustpan and brush is also very useful to keeping the dust down inside your shelter.
Yurts, Tents, Tepees, Oh My!
There are a lot of different styles, types, sizes and design of tent structures, but here are some of our favorites. Whatever your choice of structure is, remember these wise words from Eric.
Nobody should ever bring a structure to the playa that they haven't already practiced setting up at home... preferably multiple times, in the dark, with one hand tied behind their back and another holding a beer.
Everywhere you look there is a Geodome at Burning Man. The design by Buckminster Fuller is very popular due to it's durable design, minimal material costs and adaptability. You can make them large or small just by changing the length of your poles. There are numerous DIY guides and Kits available to build your own. If you have more cash, and less patience you can also buy made to order domes, or check ebay and craigslist for someone selling one.
These portable shelters were used by the nomads in the steppes of Central Asia thousands of years ago. There strength and portability makes this a design that is still being used today.
Other Tent Options
Tie it off!
There are a bunch of extra tools and gear that can make your Tent Life a little more sturdy. Zip ties, Ratchet Straps and the like are handy to have extra when putting up your shade structure or shelter.
Looking for more information? Have a look at these other articles and papers written by other burners.
Cap Ron's Shelter Captian's Log - Lots of handy info about shade, tents, RVs and more.
Burning Tribe is another resource with handy tips on tents, shade structures and insulation techniques.
For more tent tips check out Burn.Life's Tent article. It's also packed with many tips and resource links.
Every time I go back I love walking around the camps to see the different innovations people have done. It would not surprise me to see some Burning Man Shelter Sturcture Project be used in space exploration. It's already being used for disaster relief. Maybe you will come up with the next great design?
It's important to have a good place to sleep and collect yourself. The Burn is such a sensory overload for many, a place to relax is often the difference for many people between a great and awful burn. Be radically self-reliant and Radically Expressive in your Home at Home Design.